FCAC Administrative Monetary Penalties Framework


This document sets out the framework used by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s (FCAC) Supervision and Enforcement Branch to determine the proposed administrative monetary penalty (penalty) to be included in a Notice of Violation issued to a financial institution or a payment card network operator (collectively referred to as Regulated Entity or RE).

The Deputy Commissioner, Supervision and Enforcement Branch, may issue a Notice of Violation when there are reasonable grounds to believe that a RE has breached a legal obligation, also known as a consumer provision, or when a RE has breached a Compliance Agreement. The Notice of Violation identifies an alleged violation, the RE who is believed to have committed it, and proposes a penalty for same.

The RE may, within 30 days of being served with a Notice of Violation, make representations to the Commissioner. Where representations are made, the Commissioner decides whether the violation was committed as alleged and whether to impose the penalty proposed in the Notice of Violation, a lesser penalty or no penalty. This is in keeping with the Commissioner’s adjudicative responsibility as the sole decision maker in regard to the alleged violations and proposed penalties that come before him/her.

Subsection 19(2) of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act (FCAC Act) sets the maximum penalty for a violation to be $10,000,000 in the case of a violation that is committed by an RE or $1,000,000 in the case of a violation that is committed by a natural person.Footnote 1

Section 20 of the FCAC Act sets out the criteria to be taken into account when determining a penalty. These are:

Determining the penalty amount

In accordance with the summary table below, each of the criteria will be assessed to arrive at a proposed penalty amount.

Summary table
  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Harm (includes aspects of duration) Some harm Significant harm Very significant harm
$0 to $2,000,000 $2,000,000 to $4,000,000 $4,000,000 to $6,000,000
Negligence/Intent (includes aspects of duration) Some negligence Significant negligence Very significant negligence or intent
$0 to $500,000 $500,000 to $1,000,000 $1,000,000 to $2,000,000
Violation history Little to no history Significant history Very significant history
$0 to $500,000 $500,000 to $1,000,000 $1,000,000 to $2,000,000

In the assessment of each of the criteria, several factors will be considered. These factors may include, but are not limited to, those identified below.

Harm and related duration

Factors considered may include:

Negligence/Intent and related duration

Factors considered may include:

Violation history

Factors considered may include:

Ability to pay

In considering the RE’s ability to pay a penalty, FCAC may rely on the RE's financial information such as annual revenue and net income. 

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